Simon Cowell to return to ‘The X Factor’ UK

Acid-tongued judge will appear on this year's show 'in some guise, somewhere'

Simon Cowell is to appear on the British version of The X Factor for the first time in two years.

Cowell created the show for ITV in 2004 and served as a judge during its first seven seasons. Since he left the panel in 2010 to launch The X Factor in the US, the British show’s popularity has fallen.

The X Factor returned to ITV1 earlier this month (August 19) with Nicole Scherzinger joining the panel alongside returning judges Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Louis Walsh. Nearly 10 million viewers tuned in – a sizeable audience, but the smallest for an X Factor series opener since 2006.

Executive producer Richard Holloway has now confirmed that Cowell will return to the show this year (2012) “in some guise, somewhere”. When asked how and when, he told The Guardian: “Ooh, that would be giving it away, wouldn’t it… That’s all I’m prepared to say… It’s not a hologram.”

Although he left the panel in 2010, Cowell remains an executive producer on the ITV show. Describing Cowell’s contribution to the British series, Holloway explained: “When we come off air the previous year and start planning for the next year, we look at the changes we’d like to make, we look at the casting – he’s very much involved in all of that. Obviously he can’t be too involved in the detail, but [he is] in the bigger picture of where the show is going, learning from what we did last year.”

Sharon Osbourne, who judged alongside Cowell until 2007, has admitted that she also wants to return to The X Factor. After series nine kicked off on August 19, she tweeted: “Tell Simon to take me back for season 10.”